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Your brain’s not as old as you think, according to new study

Washington | (ANI )-A new study has provided a deeper insight into human brains which ages less than previously thought.

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BBSRC-funded researchers at the University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit demonstrated that previously reported changes in the ageing brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may be due to vascular (or blood vessels) changes, rather than changes in neuronal activity itself.

Previously reported changes in the ageing brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may be due to vascular (or blood vessels) changes, rather than changes in neuronal activity which is associated with brain function, the findings showed.

The study suggested that older brains might be more similar to younger brains than previously thought. An alternative candidate for correction makes use of resting state fMRI measurements, which is easy to acquire in most fMRI experiments.

While this method has been difficult to validate in the past, the unique combination of an impressive data set across 335 healthy volunteers over the lifespan, allowed the team to probe the true nature of ageing effects on resting state fMRI signal amplitude. The study found that the age differences in signal amplitude during a task are of a vascular but not of neuronal origin.

The new method could be used as a robust correction factor to control for vascular differences in fMRI studies of ageing, the study noted.

Kamen Tsvetanov from the University of Cambridge concluded that without such correction methods, fMRI studies of the effects of age on cognition may misinterpret effect of age as a cognitive, rather than vascular, phenomenon.

The study appeared in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

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